So I received a boilerplate response to my previous letter to Congressman Charlie Wilson (D, OH-6). It started out saying, "sorry that we disagree, but..." then went on simply to restate the same grandiose claims that prompted my initial letter. About what I expected.
But then time elapsed and the madness that has taken hold in Washington got so bad that when Hugo Chavez called our President "ignorant" we were compelled to nod in agreement; and when the EU (!) said, "You guys are
nuckin futs! a wee bit crazy!" we found ourselves yearning for leaders with the wisdom of the European Union president. (Heck, lots of us actually miss President Clinton!) Strange bedfellows. Is pestilence saddling his horse?
So what happened? Well, the Democrats got the populace ticked about bonuses which, we quickly discovered, the Democrats themselves explicitly sanctioned in law, and my own Cong. Wilson introduced a piece of legislation called the TARP Wage Accountability Act... which is worse than it sounds, if you can believe it.
In touting a bill Hugo Chavez could have written, Wilson actually says, condemningly, "Yesterday I read in the Wall Street Journal that companies - anticipating Congressional action - are trying to go around us [HOW DARE THEY!? DON'T THEY KNOW WHO WE ARE?!] by proposing to significantly increase pay rather than have to deal with scrutiny of bonuses," and then, in a fit of populist pique, says that his bill will "force companies that took 10 billion dollars or more in TARP funds to abide by the government Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) structure set for military and government employees." Because, after all, "If the COLA is good enough for our soldiers and government workers, it should be good enough for Wall Street."
All emphases mine. So's the confounded stare. Repeated.
Anyone wanna guess how easily a bill like this could be conjoined to Overlord Geithner's request for authority to seize most any company he deems threatening to the economy and form an unholy two-headed beast that devours the souls of entrepreneurs and the possibility of America being a great nation ever again?
With that, er, inspiration, here's the latest letter I sent to Congressman Wilson. It's a little restrained, yes, but I figure saying most of the above, or the bulk of what I'd like to say, may not be the best approach to win friends and influence people. Without further ado:
Dear Congressman Wilson--
Thank you for your quick reply to my previous email. I read your response and am intrigued about the parts where you said you were proud to vote for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and then later said, "Unprecedented accountability and transparency measures will ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and effectively."
I'm intrigued for two reasons:
1) You were proud to vote for the ARRA, which you claim includes "unprecedented accountability and transparency," but the bill itself was more than 1,000 pages, and was voted on less than 12 hours after it was released to you and the rest of the world. Now I believe you are a smart man, a quick study, and dedicated to being the most responsible representative of Ohio's sixth district that you can be, but I find it hard to believe that even you were able to read and digest everything in that bill to be sure it was "responsible." That sort of railroading is hardly transparent. I'll give it one thing though: it certainly is unprecedented in its scope, reach, and size. The unprecedented LACK of accountability and transparency that went into the composition and enacting of the ARRA leaves me wondering mightily about how "wisely and effectively" the moneys will be spent.
2) You say you were proud of the ARRA, and that it has accountability and transparency, and that you were proud to vote for it. However, the legislation which you recently introduced, the TARP Wage Accountability Act, directly contradicts these assertions. As America now knows, the bonuses at AIG which have caused such an uproar and which spurred your legislation were not only entirely lawful and contractual, but were directly included in and sanctioned by the ARRA itself, for which you were proud to vote.
Apart from those issues, I continue to be appalled by the hubris of everyone in Washington who seems to think the only way to keep the sky from falling is if Washington builds a tower tall enough to hold it up. The unprecedented power grab the White House is seeking through Secretary Geithner to seize any financial institution of any sort that they deem threatening to the economy; the suggestion of an international currency; the $5 billion for an expansion of the size, scope, and mandate of Americorps that evokes visions of brainwashed wards of the state mindlessly mouthing the praises of the leaders; the continued promises of creating 3.5 million new jobs (but that number has changed, and will likely change again) on the one hand while talking down the economy and promising that more jobs will be lost even after the "stimulus" kicks in (what kind of 'stimulus' is that?); the horribly misplaced faith in the denizens of the Capitol who, though rife with corruption, sweetheart real estate deals, money in freezers, "menus," junkets on the taxpayer dime, poor management of everything they touch, still think there is nothing that will fix the current problems like more involvement and control for them... Something about a fox watching a henhouse comes to mind.
I do not doubt that you, sir, are an honorable man in a very tough position. But I am less than enthusiastic about many of your colleagues and the job that federal bureaucracies have done with most everything.
Your email to me included many very nice ideas and noble goals. The underlying problem, sir, is the philosophy that more and bigger government is the solution. In every single state where that has been tried it has failed. Every. Single. One. And when the present claims--those included in your email--are analyzed against facts, they don't stand up either. Even the Europeans believe our current track is doomed--and they know a thing or two about a government running an economy into the ground. More on that in my next email.
I do hope you will resist the big-state non-solutions being railroaded through Congress. The people voted for a change as a rebuke to President Bush and his big spending ways. President Obama won in part because of his pledge to reduce spending. Thus far, in hardly two months, with talk of another stimulus and a single-year budget plan larger than the GDPs of most nations on earth combined, the path we are on is anything but fiscal restraint.
I am deeply, deeply concerned for the future, sir, and I hope you will turn back from the tried, tried again, and failed every time big-state solution.